The first snow which looks as if it means business has fallen. This is insidious snow - not the big fluffy traditional flakes but little innocent micro-snowflakes which you just don't take seriously but when you open the curtain in the morning...as I just did...there is a dazzling white layer everywhere - and they continue to fall, a continuous parachute attack of tiny little snow flakes which ends up smothering the whole region.
Already there have been accidents on the motorways resulting in vast traffic jams with people stuck in their cars in the cold for hours...
Normally I would be getting slowly into a panic about the roads and the conditions - it is about the time I would be thinking about setting of for Liverpool - but this year I don't need to worry about it as we are staying here.
The first Xmas without my mother will be hard enough I think without being in her house and having constant reminders that she is not there any more. Xmas was her favourite festival..she always used to say, "I can't be bothered with New Year...all that waiting around for twelve o'clock and by the time it comes we're all either drunk or tired out!"
She much preferred Xmas with its emphasis on family and that's why we went back in the festive season as often as we could - and especially in the last three years when she was ill, we were always there to get her out of the nusing home and try and give her the family Xmas in her own house which she so loved.
Last Xmas we even had snow in Liverpool...a thin dusting which was just enough to make it a white (and only slightly green) Xmas. On Xmas Day we were all together in the living room and my mother was in her wheelchair looking out of the window at the garden which was turning white before our eyes.
Following her stroke she could hardly speak but she managed to enunciate the sentence, "I wish I could just stay here forever..."
There are some presents you can't give...